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Six planter upgrades to help farmers achieve a picket fence crop stand in 2021

Precision Planting, a specialist in precision agriculture technology solutions, has shared six planter upgrades to help farmers achieve a picket fence crop stand in 2021

“When you pass a picket fence, think about your planter,” said Bryce Baker, marketing manager at Precision Planting. “The structural integrity, longevity of the pickets, setting the posts - building a sturdy, straight fence and building a picket fence crop stand have real parallels, whatever crop farmers plant.”

Baker added that farmers can make affordable upgrades to their existing planter equipment to produce a crop stand that looks good and is profitable. “Begin with the base iron of your planter and row units,” said Baker. “It doesn’t matter the colour or brand. You can have the best seed placement, the best yield and simple-to-use technology.”

Precision Planting experts shared six planter upgrades and customisations that farmers can make to their existing planters to help them achieve a good stand and profitable crop in 2021:

1) Move debris from where you will build your fence / Move residue with help from a row cleaner.

Precision Planting has announced a new row cleaner called Reveal. The technology is a row cleaner that stays engaged with the soil, allowing tine depth to be gauged from the cleaned surface, not the surface on top of soil residue.

“Reveal offers farmers independent tine depth and pressure adjustment, so they can determine how deep the tines engage, and then set that independent of pressure,” said Justin McMenamy, director of product at Precision Planting.  

2) Measure the post layout for your fence / Add sensors on row units to measure and diagnose planter seed placement.

“Like a doctor uses x-ray technology to diagnose medical issues, planter row unit sensors help farmers diagnose the planter,” said McMenamy. “There are five things worth sensing on the planter to see a real impact on the crop: Seed, row unit ride, downforce, the soil environment seeds are placed in and fertiliser rate.”

“Through our research farm trials at Precision Planting, we have seen that a two-inch seed depth only wins 21% of the time,” said Jason Webster, lead commercial agronomist and director of the Precision Technology Institute. “Sensors help us move that win rate up.”

3) Dig holes where you will place the fence posts / Create the seed trench.

“Consistent germination of seeds starts with planting at the correct depth, and now farmers have tools, SmartFirmer and SmartDepth, that allow them to know how deep to plant, and then set that depth right from the cab,” said Baker.

4) Anchor the fence to the hole / Control planter downforce in variable fields.

“A major component of creating a furrow with structural integrity that anchors the seed is downforce control,” said McMenamy. “Automated downforce control ensures the same weight on the gauge wheels of every row, even across the variation of a field or from equipment.

5) Secure the area around the post with concrete / Incorporate planter-applied fertility around the seed.

“Our trials have shown that planter-applied fertility drives increased profit and can be done with the same fertiliser dollar,” said Webster. “Moving from off-planter fertiliser to planter-applied is about reallocation, not necessarily more fertiliser. Planter-applied or banded nitrogen, instead of broadcast, means we apply nitrogen right alongside the seed, where it needs it.”

6) Fill the post hole / Get the right soil density around the seed and close the furrow.

“Seeds need to be surrounded by soil, not air, to get uniform heat and moisture,” said Webster. “To avoid yield loss, the goal is not simply seeds touching soil but seed firmly against the soil.”

“The last part of the row unit that encounters the furrow destroys it,” said McMenamy. “If you can’t find the furrow, that’s what you want - seeds tucked in and no evidence of the planter pass.”